August 3, 2018 – August 29, 2018

Pioneer Women Painters of the River District, curated by Sara LeDonne, is a group exhibit which will highlight five Warehouse Studio artists from the mid 90s. These adventurous, creative, inspirational women found themselves under one roof, painting energetic, extraordinary, thought provoking abstracts.

In the 80’s, Marie Hudson opened her studio in the RAD. She was one of the first artists to plant roots in what has become one of the most popular locations for artists in Asheville. Hudson’s art resonates in the community. Hundreds of locals have collected her art over the years.

Mary Charles Griffin, an abstract expressionist artist that goes by the name of Charlie, is a 95-year-old dynamo who graduated from Western Carolina University with her master’s in studio painting when she was 77. “I started painting professionally after my children left home in 1980. I can’t hear, see or speak, but otherwise I am in pretty good shape for my age.” -Charlie Griffin

“I moved again to a studio in the Riverlink building in 1991. With the leadership of Karen Cragnolian (Riverlink) and Gayle McCarthy (Highwater Clay) I helped organize the first, soon to be River Arts District, Open Studios. There were five participating artists at that time.” – Betty Clark

“This building, these studios, these women were my first introduction to the artists of Asheville and the River District. It was not yet called the River ARTS District…there were no coffee shops, breweries, or restaurants  like today…It was still pretty sketchy after dark if you ventured further down toward what is now Pink Dog… I moved into Warehouse Studios in the fall of 1998, right after I moved to Asheville from Seattle.   At that time, there were only about 20 artists in the RAD, scattered in the old buildings.  Marie Hudson, Betty Clark , Charlie Griffin and I had been working studios at Warehouse long before there was anything else down there. We became friends as well as critics for each other’s work.”- Barbara Fisher

This exhibit aims to recreate the experience of discovering this artistic hot bed, and pay homage to those early Asheville pioneer women painters. The opening reception for Pioneer Women Painters of the River District will be August 3, 2018 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.  Sara LeDonne will give a curator’s talk at 6:30.

Participating artists: Betty Clark, Barbara Fisher, Mary Charles “Charlie” Griffin, Marie Hudson, Dawn Rentz

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